Archive of 139 vernacular photographs of US Army serviceman Robert E. Wright's deployment and service at the Da Nang Air Base during the Vietnam War
N.p. N.p., Circa early 1970s. Archive of 139 vernacular photographs documenting African American US Army infantryman Robert E. Wright's deployment and service at Da Nang Air Base, the primary entry point for American servicemen in Vietnam, circa early 1970s. One album features farewell inscriptions from five fellow African American soldiers on the front and rear pastedowns, and laid in with both albums are various pieces of correspondence, including a 1976 letter from Wright’s mother and family.
Archive features approximately 20 photographs taken stateside, likely during Wright’s basic training, with images of family, friends, and fellow soldiers. The balance of the photographs capture Wright’s time at Da Nang Air Base, however, showing soldiers both on- and off-duty. Several photographs show servicemen at work, frequently accompanied by local Vietnamese, in Army offices and warehouses. Many photographs show the soldiers relaxing and carousing in the barracks and around the base, as well as a few photographs showing a celebration at a Vietnamese nightclub with a rock band and go-go dancers performing. Wright appears to have had a predilection for the ladies of the area, as many of the photographs feature Vietnamese women working on the base, and walking around the base and vicinity.
The farewell inscriptions by Wright's comrades are particularly notable for their display of Black consciousness and solidarity. Three especially striking inscriptions read:
"Bro. Bob / Best of luck in the Plantation. I hope you will keep the black thought that we have learned in the Nam and make a better home for the blacks in the world / 'Bro Chapman' / Los Angeles California."
"BRO Wright / A Black that Know the meaning of Blackness. Right on Bro Wright. And the best of luck to you / Your black club man Bro Green / Fayetteville N.C. + De Ridder La."
"Bro. Wright / This is going out to one of the heavyest (sic) Black that has walk this Place call Nam. A long ways it has been But be strong Black. And maybe one day we the people will come up to Freedom, Until then we must fight. Death of Freedom. / Bro. Tiku / Wash D.C."
A candid and insightful archive, documenting an African American soldier’s experiences at Da Nang.
Photographs: 2 x 2.5 inches to 5 x 7 inches. Near Fine overall.
Albums: 10 x 11.75 inches. Very Good plus, with lightly soiled and dampstained boards, and the clear overlay of one leaf folded and creased.
See all items in: African American Interest, Photographs, US Army, Vernacular Photography, Vietnam War